Update November 9, 2011:
The Valero Benicia refinery may have been wrongly placed on an Environmental Protection Agency internal watch list because of an unaddressed violation.
According to an EPA spokesperson the refinery is on the July watch list because of a state unaddressed violation that is traceable back to a November 5, 2008 NOV (Notice of Violation) for BAAQMD regulation 2-6-307. The District says this NOV was rescinded long ago and should have been deleted.
Regulation 2-6-307 pertains to operating permits for major facilities, in this case the cogeneration unit Valero built.
November 7, 2011: Benicia Valero Refinery on internal EPA watch list
The list is made up of violators but EPA isn't telling the companies or the media what the violations are.
The is one of 464 facilities around the country included on an internal Environmental Protection Agency “watch list”. The list was made public in an article published by the Center for Public Integrity and National Public Radio. The two news and information groups got the information through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Speaking to Benicia Patch from San Antonio, Texas, Valero spokesman Bill Day says the company is unable to say what violations the company may have committed to land them on the internal list.
“EPA put together that list and shared it with the state and local regulators, but not the companies on the list,” said Day.
Ralph Borrmann, at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said Valero had committed about 185 violations over the past five years but could not say why the Valero Benicia Refinery is on the list.
The local spokesperson for the EPA was out of the office.
Because EPA has not released the reasons that Valero is included on the list the company doesn’t believe it is in a position to answer specific questions regarding the list or inclusion of any Valero facility on the list. Day did give this reply to NPR: : “Valero cannot respond directly to your questions, as you have repeatedly denied our requests for additional information. In general, I can say that Valero facilities operate under permits, and we work with federal, state and local regulators to ensure compliance with those permits. All issues are remedied as quickly as possible. This compliance has led to a measurable improvement in air quality across the country.”
EPA never told us about the list as far as I know,” said Day.